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Allardyce on... Stoke City

Filed: Tuesday, 20th November 2012
By: Staff Writer

A disappointed Sam Allardyce respects the point - even though he felt it should have been three. His post-match press conference for you exclusively in full...

Sam: Did that feel like a missed chance for you today?

In the end we were disappointed that we didn't win it based on our second half performance, but when you put that much pressure on the opposition you've got to try and be a little more ruthless in front of goal. With a little bit more quality and composure we probably could have won, but at the end of the day it's another point and I can't be too critical of the players.

They took the game to Stoke in the second half, completely dominated them and penned them back, but sadly we couldn't quite find the winning touch in front of goal.

It's a really good come back for us; like I said, we're disappointed we haven't won it but we've got another point and it's a real good start with a third of the season gone. We're what, seventh in the Premier League? So we can't be too disappointed even though we know we should have won that one. But we move on and face another difficult fixture on Sunday at Tottenham - just as this was a very difficult fixture, as we found out in the first half.

Are you going to be frustrated tomorrow morning when you see you're not fifth [in the table]?

I don't know if I'll be frustrated; I'm a bit disappointed at the moment that we didn't win it. In the end, finishing in the box and creating chances is hard but scoring chances is the most difficult thing in this league. The quality of player needed is hugely expensive if you want to buy the top ones, so you pay 50million for a Torres or 24million on a Van Persie in the last year of his contract. It shows you how expensive it is to find the one who will put the ball in the back of the net for you.

At the moment we've only really got Kevin Nolan doing it on a regular basis - and he was particularly disappointed that he didn't score with that chance at the start of the second half. But we created chances and our second half performance was very good, with the full backs pushing on and getting behind a stubborn Stoke defensive unit which has been very stubborn all season. Yes, we created chances - but we couldn't find the finishing touch.

Is it a bit incongruous that you're flying so high in the table and yet Andy Carroll hasn't scored? Is it almost as if opposition defenders are concentrating on him?

Yes; he's going to attract attention as his hold up play is very good, as is his heading ability. People are going to need to pay particular attention to him, so he's going to attract one or two defenders which creates space elsewhere. Andy's not to get too frustrated at the fact that he's not scoring at the moment. Today he didn't really get too much of a chance to score either but sooner or later, if we continue to work on him making runs into the box and on the service that we give, then eventually he will score.

He didn't seem too pleased when he came off? Does that show the desire he's got?

Yes it does. He wants to score a goal and he wants me to leave him on for 90 minutes, but he put that much effort in - like all the players - and there's some fresh players on the bench like Carlton Cole who's bursting to get on and do something. There's also Matthew Taylor and there's Guy Demel who came on and continued to give us a bit more energy to find the winner.

The players who started the game were beginning to feel the pace, especially in the second half, so fresh players with fresh legs came on and continued to press the opposition to try and get the goal. He's disappointed but in the end you make the substitutions for the benefit of everybody to try and win the game. I wanted to try and win the game and I felt that was the best way forward after the effort he, Modibo and Joey O'Brien had put in.
Fresh legs, desperate to get on might have got us the winner. It didn't quite, but it could have done.

You were forced to change things with [Matt] Jarvis and [Yossi] Benayoun out. How pleased were you with the players who came in?

I was very pleased with the second half performance and the fact that the squad has performed very well yet again. Whilst our numbers are not great, our quality seems to be pretty good.

Again, our defensive unit was very good - apart from the corner. I have to say I thought the corner was undefendable - and if the referee had eyes in the back of his head he would have given a foul on the block from Adam on George McCartney who was marking Johnny Walters. But Walters had to finish that first time - and it was a brilliant finish.

But you nearly got one yourself?

Nearly, yes; Gary O'Neil worked a great one which caught them by surprise but that went two inches past the post instead of inside [it]. Like I said, we weren't quite clinical enough in front of goal but at least we created a second half performance with a lot of chances.

Have you been doing some work on that corner on the training ground?

I didn't, Wally Downes did. Wally has been working on that for a couple of weeks. As we were live on Sky we probably won't be able to do it again as everyone's seen it! It was two inches away from paying off; theirs paid off and now they won't be able to use theirs either! You bring one or two changes in now and again and you hope that they work for you. Theirs did, ours nearly did.

Towards the end the fans seemed a bit frustrated because you weren't lumping the ball forward quickly enough?

Ha! You can't push the ball down the middle, even with Andy Carroll, with Stoke City because Robert Huth and Ryan Shawcross are so strong so we had to get the ball in wide areas and then into the box. On several occasions we got in behind the back four which is what we wanted. Sometimes we couldn't find the final ball - and we couldn't find the final finish, unfortunately.

It's a sign that you're playing a bit of football now though, isn't it?

I think everybody's enjoying what they're seeing at the moment, particularly at Upton Park. I could hear the fans willing the lads on to get that goal.

Thank you.

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by Pam Conroy
11:44PM 20th Nov 2012
''I have to say that the first half was not very impressive but the second half was much better - well done Joey O'Brien I was really pleased that you scored.

I could see just how upset Andy Carroll was when Sam took him off - he is so desperate to score - message to Andy Carroll it really dosen't matter if you never score - you are so committed - and nobody could fault you 100% commettment - well done.

Beat Tottenham on Sunday - they must not be allowed to beat us - Good Luck. Love Pam.''

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